London Mayor Boris Johnson has said the English capital is “working hard” on securing an NFL American football franchise, adding that UK fans of the sport should “watch this space.”
Johnson made the comment in response to a question during a Q&A session on social networking website Twitter. Asked when London will receive an NFL team, Johnson said: “We are working hard on deal – high hopes for Tottenham (Hotspur) in the next few years…watch this space.”
In July, the NFL agreed a 10-year deal with English Premier League football club Tottenham to play a minimum of two games per season at its new stadium. London-based Tottenham is set to move to its new 61,000-seat stadium in 2018. The facility will feature a retractable grass field with an artificial surface underneath that would be used for NFL games.
Both sports will have dedicated facilities at the stadium and the deal marked the NFL’s latest expansion into the UK market following its successful staging of 11 regular-season games at Wembley Stadium, also in the English capital, since 2007. It has two seasons remaining on its current deal with Wembley, which runs until 2016 and the NFL is optimistic of a further extension to its tenure at the national stadium.
The NFL has stressed that in addition to the minimum of two games per year at the new Tottenham site, other games may take place at different venues in the UK during the span of the 10-year agreement with the football club.
The NFL International Series began on October 28, 2007, when the New York Giants defeated the Miami Dolphins 13-10. In 2015, three regular-season NFL games will be played at Wembley Stadium for the second year in a row.
The slate features a first-ever division game in the UK when the Miami Dolphins host the New York Jets on October 4, as well as games played on consecutive Sundays – also a first for the NFL in London – when the Jacksonville Jaguars face the Buffalo Bills on October 25, followed by the Kansas City Chiefs meeting the Detroit Lions on November 1.